“The difference between the dreamer and the doer is consistent, purposeful action.” — Jack Hodge
Chances are you’re reading this article on a mobile device or computer with multiple applications open?
In fact, you’re probably thinking about the next thing on your to do list or contemplating a host of other things, without really being present. We’re all guilty of it. Gone are the days of being attentive to the task at hand because our minds have become saturated with stimuli. We believe if we’re not attending to a million things at once, we’re not productive.
And sure, we blame technology for our blind sidedness but remember, behind every technological device lies a user in control of it. For this reason, I don’t believe the narrative that technology is to blame because we should be in control of how we use it. When it becomes a weapon used against us, then it rules our life.
It’s easy to be diverted from what is meaningful and be dragged into the rabbit hole of despair unable to find our way out. We can be distracted by insignificant circumstances that vie for our attention especially if we don’t place a high value on what is meaningful. Purposeful action arises with an intent and an inner conviction to serve others or contribute to the world.
Author Victor J Strecher states in Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything that a strong purpose is tied to your understanding of the world: “A great purpose in life follows from values that reflect an understanding of the world.”
We are guided to help the community or play a bigger role in the lives of others because our purpose aligns with our core values. For example, if we are affected by workplace misconduct, our mission might be to raise the awareness of misbehaviour within the workplace. We are driven by personal experience to change the culture of inappropriate behaviour. Our mission is aligned with our values and intent to serve and ease the suffering of others.
Distracted From Your Purpose
“When you do what you love, the seemingly impossible becomes simply challenging, the laborious becomes purposeful resistance, the difficult loses its edge and is trampled by your progress.” — Steve Maraboli
I can identify with a mission that aligns with my values having lost my father to an illness decades ago. I recall in the years that followed asking myself a simple question that led to where I am today: “Why do some people get sick while others are healthy?” I have been on a journey of discovery spanning a decade, learning why some people get sick while others thrive. I wrote a book on the topic called: The Power to Navigate Life and created a coaching program to support the book.
I learned many things along the way and helped countless individuals to heal and transform their lives, because they too were searching for answers. “Purpose in life is concerned with what we most deeply value, and purposeful living is concerned with whether we’re living for what matters most,” explains Victor J. Strecher.
Fulfilment is found through purposeful action, not in meeting deadlines or having our head buried in our phone. These things distract us from our purpose and keep us entertained, neglecting what is important. I’m yet to meet somebody other than an app developer or a person involved in the tech industry who is truly fulfilled spending hours a day on their mobile device.
I don’t intend to berate technology, but highlight how much time is wasted in mindless tasks that prevent us from pursuing purposeful action. I realise many people are scared to death to pursue their purpose, let alone realise they have one.
Purpose and purposeful action can be borne out of the same intention that aligns with our core values. Stealing time on a mobile device serves no one other than the manufacturer of the device and the telephone company whose profits we bankroll.
Motivational author and speaker Brendon Burchard says in High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way: “Often, the journey to greatness begins the moment our preferences for comfort and certainty are overruled by a greater purpose that requires challenge and contribution.”
We must be willing to Step out of our comfort zone and discover an intention that moves us in the smallest way. People believe purposeful action is aligned with a greater intent to change the world. It might or might not be. There is only one way to find out; take the first step.
Imagine Your Best Future Self
“Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful.” — John C. Maxwell
I was watching Ice T being interviewed on Jimmy Fallon and was drawn to a phrase he lives by.
He said: “Don’t Guide Life, Ride Life.”
Whilst a simple axiom, it underscores the need to flow with the currents of life.
To Ride Life we must focus on purposeful action because when we find something that rocks our boat, every minute becomes purposeful, even if we are struggling at first. For every writer and artist scrapping by, being creative far outweighs working in a job they loathe.
“Without courage, the adventure to genius and greatness can never even begin,” avows author Sean Patrick in Awakening Your Inner Genius.
I’ve coached many CEO’s and senior executives over the years who say they regret not pursuing their passions or owning their own business. Instead they are paid to pursue the company’s mission instead of focusing on their own. Yet, they are tied to this way of life to provide for their families and live a certain lifestyle.
Let me be clear, I do not condemn corporate culture in any way. These people are brave and courageous, yet some (not all) reach a point in their lives when regret sinks in. I oppose putting your life on hold and not taking bold risks because of limiting beliefs or societal norms. These are trappings to have you conform and limit your potential.
Brendon Burchard says: “Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.”
My passion of writing, speaking in front of audiences and coaching amazing people arose from one question following my father’s passing. That question ignited a desire that took me on a quest and later became my calling. I often tell people, I could never have designed the circumstances that lead to this way of life.
I recall speaking to year 10 students (equivalent to Freshman — High School in the US) late last year on how to discover their passion and purpose. A student stood up and asked how he could discover what he’s good at. My reply: “Fail often, learn quickly and never give up.”
Keep trying until you have exhausted all avenues.
I assure you, whatever inspires you has been purposefully placed within you as the seed of potential, to serve the lives of others. The key is to let go of distractions long enough and focus on what is truly meaningful with passion and enthusiasm.
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